Since I'm already being critical objective about Rancourt, I have to say (as I just received the email promoting the Northport Penny Loafer) that I think a lot of their in-house designs are total misses.
I don't own the Knox boot, but I can vouch for the RLH soles. They are one of the best things about Rancourt IMO. They are quite durable exceptionally comfortable. TBH, and I hate to say it, the Indy boot probably is a notch above in terms of build quality. Cork insole vs fiberboard and the way that they are put together. That is not to say that Rancourt's are low quality, but a discerning shoe enthusiast will certainly notice a difference.
Was it at the same time that they changed the name from "Carmina Shoe P0rn", or was there something else in between? I notice that they aren't included on the right sidebar of this page with the other affiliate vendors, so maybe they (mods) were just trying to come up with something generic so that it was not Carmina Shoe P0rn, but they aren't an actual affiliate vendor.
I had a pair resoled (the regular resole). It was between 2 and 3 weeks turn around. I just checked and don't think that I received any kind of email saying that they received the shoes. However, I was in contact with Scott during that time about getting new laces put in and the heel pads replaced, so I knew that they had them.
^That's normal. It is where the upper was tacked to the last during construction. I can see the mark on the back of both Charleskinbote's shoes as well, just not as noticeable because of the broguing. Sometimes it's more apparent, sometimes it isn't.
I hear you. I don't think that your expectations are unreasonable. However, unfortunately, it seems that manufacturers of shell cordovan shoes sometimes ship a less than perfect pairs. Not saying it's right, but it's reality. That pair you received has quite a few imperfections, I do acknowledge. I would be disappointed with them as well.
Looks like your options at this point are either to return them or keep them and remedy the defects as best you can. They can...
My take on it is that they would rather not do business with a customer as discerning as you, and that's why they say its the only pair the have in 9.5. They don't want to send you a different pair and have the same dissatisfaction. Easier to just sell them to someone who is less difficult to please.
Not criticizing you for your high standards. I just think that from their perspective, you are more trouble than you are worth since there are plenty of other buyers...